When I write these blogs, I really try to keep things as light as possible, even when I’m telling you about a serious health issue that I’ve dealt with.
But sometimes, I’ve had such a negative experience with something, I’m afraid it will be hard to put a positive spin on things.
Sadly, such is the case with the story of my thyroid problem. Or, as it turns out, the lack thereof.
Let’s start at the beginning, by talking a bit about the small gland inside your neck that has a giant influence on your well-being. The thyroid is the barometer to your whole body. It has an enormous impact on your endocrine system and your overall health.
Unfortunately, it seems that many doctors don’t give it much credence, or perform the proper tests to make sure it’s functioning as it should. At least, that was the case with me.
Like so many of my health problems, my thyroid story goes back to when I had my hysterectomy and my hormones were all out of whack. I was having some symptoms that were compatible with an over-active thyroid (things like sluggishness, sleeplessness, cognitive issues like decreased concentration, etc.), so I was given a blood test, diagnosed with a hypothyroidism and put on medication for it.
At the time, I wasn’t as into patient advocacy as I am now, so I confess I didn’t do any research on the subject or the test I had done and I didn’t get a second opinion. I accepted my doctor’s diagnosis as fact and began taking the medication.
Since that time, I’ve done a ton of reading and research on this matter, and I now know that I should have been given a comprehensive blood test that measured three very important things: a thyroid-stimulating hormone, or TSH test, that measures your level of this particular hormone, and also thyroid hormone tests that measure amounts of 2 hormones called T3 and T4. These 3 tests are conducted using a simple blood draw.
Ideally, your doctor should also give you a pretty good amount of water to drink and palpitate or feel your neck while you are swallowing. This will allow him or her to check your thyroid’s size.
Sadly, this is not what happened with my case. In my next blog, I’ll continue with the story of what happened with me and my thyroid. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you, and how your physician checks your thyroid when you go in for a check up.
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